Lost in time, lost in space, lost in family matters? It seems strange to me that I found it much easier to keep this blog going when my life was complexified by way too much travel and squeezed by too many commitments to varied big projects.
Now I am hoping to have more time to be just plain myself, still fully a part of a wonderful family, but with more time, space, and brainspace to reinvent even more Betsys than I’ve already imagined.
Another reminder of why we read Dave Winer’s blog Scripting News: this spirit-lifting quote from a recent post Indirect business models FTW.
One of the really amazing things about New York City is the extent to which the city anticipated its own growth. It built elevated rail systems to neighborhoods that didn’t exist. A grid that went into the Bronx when the city barely made it to 14th St. A huge city park in the middle of nowhere. Tech guys have to think like that. So few do. Seriously.
Waiting for a morning flight to Heathrow. Frank and I will celebrate his birthday this year by doing the Wainwright coast to coast walk across England.
I just blogged a big chunk of Wordsworth’s 1810 thoughts about just how great this time of year is for the Lake District. So now, I photographed my computer, my blog, my coat, my scarf, my favorite pink hoodie, and all the other crazy people in range in this waiting area.
Adventures and more photos follow, but not for a while.
Yes, an entire calculus limerick, resurrected from my 1992 joke book, has been made into a YouTube video by my old friend Stu Savory. (Calling him my “good old” friend would make him sound older and less good, so I’ll leave it there.)
The limerick is a fine old mathematical chestnut, most likely created by a real practitioner who invoked Gausswhen trying to tie his cravat and thought of Klein bottles when he heard the milkman’s cart rumble by. With blessings upon Stu’s head, I am not that old.
I hope all my readers will show their support for YouTube’s new adult content by favoriting Stu’s video early and often.
Over the years I’ve seen ideas that show up over and over in various different forms, and when we discover one, we give it a name. Examples. Jay Rosen came up with Atomization. Doc Searls said Markets Are Conversations. David Weinberger has so many — including Small Pieces Loosely Joined and Transparency is the New Objectivity. Clay Shirky says Here Comes Everybody. Jay and I together came up with Rebooting The News. Some of mine are Sources Go Direct, River of News, We Make Shitty Software, Checkbox News, People Come Back to Places that Send Them Away, Ask Not What the Internet Can Do For You, The Platform with No Platform Vendor, It’s Even Worse Than It Appears.
I agree with Dave’s “Narrate your work,” and would just add to that — make time also to narrate your life, at least for yourself and maybe for a very few others.
Were these faintly-seen swimmers heading back up to the porch? Or down into the lake? What matters more is that I managed to photograph one lucid moment of pure summer pleasure. That memory will now be mine for the rest of my life.
How very complex are the surfaces that confront us, walking through real life. And yet how much simpler they seem if considered as a succession of layers, each layer with its own time stamp and simple description.
Consider this Krakow wall’s layers as a series of event reports in some kind of blog. Translating its RSS feed into English, a few entries follow:
Description: Surface layer of city grime
Description:Graffiti incident, Antoni & Malgorzata
Description: Broken fragments of stucco re-expose brick wall
Description: Deterioration of paint starts to re-expose stucco
Description: Painted stucco layer on top of brick wall
I’m thinking back on my own life as a series of layers — heartfelt events whose legacy remains even when others succeed them. What would your life’s RSS feed say about you?
Let’s be more ambitious than Freud: What do Humans want? I am putting together a college-level course on the ways that Utopia is being multiply re-imagined in digital worlds.
Second Life is well-known as a place that sets people free to imagine new faces, bodies, histories, and futures. But Wikipedia is also a second life to many of its participants. If Second Life has multiple sexual genders, including a wide range of Furry and Gorean and scientific data visualization options, Wikipedia too has “genders”; people who come there to work out different desires.
Wikipedian fulfillment may involve some very strange couplings (wrong word, since far more than two people often become involved), quite often accompanied by virtual cat-on-roof yowling. Consider, for example, the passionate encounter of article-writer with article-editor. Or of somebody who just loves enforcing the RULES with a prankster who loves to break those rules.
Agenda-pushers for any agenda X would get no satisfaction were there not advocates for agenda not-X also eager to engage in back-and-forth pushing.
Yes, I am (mostly) joking. But the part of my course on “Gratified desire” will consider material well beyond Second Life.
Lisa started with major computer-geeky creds and then built up and out, to test and evangelize (6 years at least worth of) new good stuff such as RSS and Bloggercon and podcasting. She has a good eye for what will be exciting, and she puts lots of skill and energy into making good things happen.
Lisa also writes about life in the geeky-young-mom lane, e.g. annotating her desk and giving advice to panelists e.g. “Bring one story to tell” but also “The best panelists are the sharpest listeners.”
More recently, she turned her tech skills to creating H20town, a hometown online newspaper. Being Lisa, she then branched out to find others like herself and built Placeblogger, mixing high-tech with low-tech can-do in equal proportions. Now she and Susan Mernit are teaming up, so who knows what the future holds for all of us?
In conclusion, I’m wishing a Happy Ada Lovelace Day to all of you high-tech high-flyers of every gender, but especially to Lisa Williams.
The old “Gray Lady” New York Times keeps changing her spots in ways that deliver new value–but without creating new profits to replace what got lost in the transition to Web 2.0. Just for example (reverse chronological order; this is a blog, after all) …
NY Times partners with Userland to deliver news stories via RSS feeds.
The NY Times is no longer (just) my mom’s messy mass of newsprint (see below, ca 1984.) It did a great job at that, but it is now setting out to do great things in a much, much bigger World 2.0. I just hope Web 2.0 finds ways to support them in turn.
My plan to have webfolk give “lightning” talks for scientists ended up in the schedule as 9:30 a.m. “lighting” talks.”
Nevahtheless, as Katherine Hepburn would say, an overflow SciFoo crowd showed up in Google’s “Damascus” room (seats 22) to hear Tim O’Reilly’s own explanation of Web 2.0, followed by stellar short talks by Esther Dyson (EDventure), Chris Anderson (Wired), Barend Mons (WikiProfessional), and Victoria Stodden (Harvard’s Berkman Center).
What was the premise here? As posted in SciFoo’s wiki for session suggestions:
Science Outreach 2.0? I see proposed sessions to have science “heard” by politicians (Eric W, Adam Wishart), to get more young people to fall in love with science (Chris Riley), and to get non-scientists involved in “spectator science” or “citizen science” activities (Margaret Wertheim, Jack Stilgoe, Karen James, Brother Guy).
Web 2.0 tools (blogs, wikis, social networks, web services) are great ways to reach out to non-scientists. What I’m proposing is a session on this useful subset of HOW-TO (a fairly new set of useful tools), a session where Sci Foo’s webfolk (and web-savvy scientists) might give “lightning” talks about “Here is a great web tool useful for scientists doing outreach, here is a quick demo of how it works, here is a URL where you can learn more about it.” Betsy Devine
Here are links to some of the websites that were discussed there:
Epernicus.com: Science networking site, mentioned by Esther Dyson.
23andMe.com: User-friendly online DNA comparison tools, explained by Esther Dyson.
BookTour.com: Science authors can get book-tour information out to the "long tail", explained by Chris Anderson (Wired).
Wikiprofessional.org: Wiki-like tool for Medline that combines language tools and authoritative sources with user input, explained by Barend Mons.
Victoria Stodden discussed the misfit between what copyright does and what scientists want to have happen to content they put online. To come, I hope, a link to the web-based license that solves these issues.
GalaxyZoo.org: Collaboration inspiration, or how people showed up from all over the internet to help Oxford astrophysicists classify millions of computer-photographed galaxies, and a Dutch teacher named Hanny discovered a unique new astronomy object, not explained by Betsy Devine, though I would have done so if we had time at the end of the session.
George Dyson, seen in this photo being attacked by a palm tree at the Wild Palms Hotel, did not speak at my session, so this photo is somewhat false advertising for this blogpost.